Teen Dating Violence
1 in 3 young people will experience abuse in a relationship and 1 in 4 teens in a relationship say they have been called names, harassed or put down by their boyfriend or girlfriend through cell phones and texting.
You have the right
- To feel safe
- to be treated with respect
- to say no to sex
- to spend time with friends
- to feel good about yourself
Relationships should be built on a foundation of respect and should include qualities like honesty, openness, trust, support, and understanding.
What is abuse?
An unhealthy relationship has an imbalance in which one person tries to gain power and control over the other through threats, emotional/verbal abuse, or physical or sexual violence. It can include:
- Name calling, making a person feel stupid, telling them they can’t do anything right.
- Intimidating a person through looks or actions (ex. threatening to destroy property, or displaying weapons.)
- Making all the decisions, telling someone what to do, what to wear, who to spend time with.
- Cutting a person off from friends and family.
- Pressuring or forcing someone into sexual activity.
- Shoving, grabbing, hitting, pinching, holding down, or kicking someone.
- Being really nice sometimes and really mean at other times.
- Excessive jealousy and possessiveness.
- Frequently sending text messages or cell phone calls that make the other person feel uncomfortable or disrupt their life.
- Sharing private information or making abusive comments on social media.
- Threatening to "out" someone.
- Preventing someone from getting a job, or taking money from them.
- Telling someone you cannot live without them and threatening to do something drastic if the relationship ends.
How to help a friend who is being abused
The most important way to help a friend is through the messages you give them. Here are some things you can say to be supportive…
- I BELIEVE you.
- It’s NOT your FAULT.
- How can I help you feel SAFE?
- Your reactions are NORMAL reactions to a horrible experience.
- You’re not alone; millions of people are in the same situation.
- Help me UNDERSTAND how you feel.
Offer to go with your friend to talk with a trusted adult. An adult may be a good person to talk with to get ideas on how to keep safe and what your friend’s options are. Just be there for your friend- whenever they want to talk. And keep a non-judgmental and listening ear. Learn more about how to help a friend or family member here.
How to help yourself
Know that what is happening to you is never your fault. You have the right to feel safe and be respected in your relationships. You also do not have to deal with this on your own. There are people who can help.
Call your local crisis center to talk to an advocate about what’s going on. An advocate can give you support and information and talk with you about ways to keep safe.
Talk to someone you trust. Share with a parent, teacher, coach, or other trusted adult what is going on. They may be able to help. You can also talk to a friend for support.
Teen Sexual Abuse
Sexual violence is a crime in which youth are particularly at risk. Over 40% of the most recent sexual assaults of females reported in a New Hampshire survey occurred before the victim’s 18th birthday, and 83% occurred before the age of 25.
No one has the right to touch you without your consent. Sexual assault is a crime and the person who commits it is the only one to blame. Sexual assault is any sexual contact that occurs without consent and can include touching, kissing, grabbing, or any other type of sexual contact, including rape. Sexual assault can also happen after a person has been unknowingly drugged or is under the influence of alcohol and cannot give his or her consent. To give your consent means agreeing to do something without being pressured, manipulated, coerced or forced. Unwanted sexual attention, including harassing comments and gestures, as well as pressuring someone to have sex, is also considered sexual violence.
Myths about sexual assault
- You deserve to be sexually assaulted or harassed and are “asking for it” if you dress or behave a certain way.
- You deserve to be assaulted if you are using alcohol or drugs.
- Sexual violence is committed by total strangers, never family, friends, partners or authority figures.
- It’s okay to pressure someone for sex after you’ve spent money going out, said “I love you” or because you’ve had sex in the past.
- Men can’t be sexually assaulted.
None of the above statements are true!
No one deserves to have sex forced on them under any circumstance. Sexual contact of any kind without consent is assault, and it is a crime. Eighty five percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Remember, sexual violence can happen to anyone.
What can I do if I've been sexually assaulted?
It can help to talk about it. You can call someone you know and trust for support. If something happened to you and it didn’t feel right even if you are not sure it was an assault, you can still talk about it. An advocate from the local crisis center can explain your rights, what to expect, and explore options, call 1.800.277.5570 for more information. To find out more about what you can do if you have been sexually assaulted click here
How can I help a friend who has been sexually assaulted?
- Listen to what he or she says and ask how you can help before doing anything.
- Believe your friend and show support.
- Encourage your friend to seek help.
- Don’t blame your friend for what happened. Let your friend know it wasn’t her or his fault.
- Help your friend make his or her own decisions, instead of pressuring her or him to do what you think is best.
- Don’t confront the person who committed the assault. It could create an unsafe situation for you or your friend.
Get help for yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed or frightened. Find someone you can talk to about those feelings. Support and information for you and your friend is available 24/7. Click here to find an advocate to talk to in your area. To learn more about how to help a friend or family member click here.
What kind of help can you expect from a domestic or sexual violence advocate?
You may have questions about your own experiences, or you may want ideas on how to help a friend or family member. Someone is available to talk on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week. Trained domestic and sexual violence advocates can help you find the assistance and support you need. Types of advocacy services include:
- A hotline that is available 24 hours a day. *This service is confidential; you do not need to provide your name.
- Emotional support.
- Accompaniment, support, and advocacy at local hospitals, courts, and police departments.
- Assistance with protective orders and referrals to legal services.
- Information & referrals to community programs.
- Support groups and peer support.
You don't need to be in crisis to call. To find an advocate to contact in your area click here.
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